Cover Image: Tainted Love

Tainted Love

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Member Reviews

Well this was an interesting collection of stories. Some of the stories could have been longer but that's only because I was enjoying them and wanted more lol. I liked the selection of stories and how they were all different with different pairings. The last one sticks out the most to me that would make a great full length novel. Overall I was very happy with this and a little creep-ed out at times.
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There were fourteen short stories in this anthology and to be honest I felt a bit let down by it after such a promising description and a beautiful cover – hence the 2 star rating.

Let me begin by highlighting the stories that were actually really good; “Make a (Death) Wish” by Melissa Burkley, “Of Guys and Dolls” by Stella B. James, “Unfinished Business” by Joni Chng, and “My Lady Bathory” by Mandy Burkhead.  These four were brilliant and I would love to read more by these authors.  My star rating would have been very different if the book only contained these tales.

Personally I felt that the remaining ten stories ranged from just being ok to being quite boring frankly.  A handful did start well but were then let down by the endings, then some others actually raised far more questions than I felt they answered with their ending.  Unfortunately, apart from the four mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t say the remaining stories were scary or thrilling and that's what pulled my rating down.
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I'm rather surprised at this collection. I loved Strange Girls, loved the range of writing and themes. This book seemed rushed, the editing was below Nox's usual level, and the stories just didn't have the same punch as Strange Girls. Also, seriously: it's a horror anthology. Stop leaving trigger warnings on everything, people. Life is unpredictable, people get assaulted. If you don't want to read something that makes you uncomfortable, stick to the Hallmark movie channel. If you're uncomfortable with the subject matter, editors, don't accept the story. All you're doing is reinforcing the delicate snowflake stereotype of women. On a brighter note, I really enjoyed Erin Lee's "Prey" and "My Lady Bathory" by Mandy Burkhead. The collection is worth borrowing for those stories alone.
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This is an anthology with 14 short stories collected together with the same theme. The theme for this one is “Women in Horror” which is exactly not what it is. There are men performing dark acts like murders, etc and even there is a story with a boy being the one to commit crime. 
I adore short stories and I am not saying that all of these are bad. There are a few that are good and few that are not. Collectively it wasn’t a good anthology. The cover was really beautiful and the colour with the theme was exactly the attraction. I am a fan of such themes but it wasn’t a good one.
Few stories were boring and also not related to the theme. But the ones that I liked were really good. And that’s why I rated it 3. But I expected a little more from these stories and this book.
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I love anthologies- like pick n mix sweeties and icecream flavours, there is a story for every taste. Editor and author Nox has delivered another platter of horror tales, many with a sting in the tail. Erin Lee's protagonist, Tendra, cuts a memorable swathe; beware the birthday boy who gets his wish; Nox and Ruhe co-write the chilling Memento Mori and who couldn't revel in a femme called Orchid? All mutations of love gone wro ng or twisted slither through these pages and it's great fun going along for the ride.
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Tainted Love anthology was a fun read and I'd recommend checking it out if you want to read some horror short stories by women. It contains a lot of gore and several possibly triggering content so please be aware of the content warnings before reading it yourself. The book itself contained trigger warnings which I appreciated. I really enjoyed some stories and found others to be boring.
The anthology is good read but there were some stories I enjoyed more than others. I found a few stories a bit vague and confusing but that is likely intentional and due to their length.

Maybe check this out if this is exactly what you are in the mood for but I wouldn't think you need to go out of your way to read this or are missing out if you skip it.
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I’ve finally come across an anthology where I absolutely love all of the stories in it. This anthology is an amazing collection of horror stories. The imagery in Hillary Lyon’s When the Mask Drops is outstanding, and felt so real. A few others that stuck out the most to me were Of Guys and Dolls by Stella James and Sleep by Marie Anderson. I highly recommend this anthology to anyone that enjoys horror stories.
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As in all anthologies there are good and bad stories.  Unfortunately, the majority were in the latter category.  There were interesting aspects to each story but they also lacked something.  But if you are interested in horror, this is something to read.
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Tainted Love: Women in Horror Anthology contain a collection of short stories selected by Azzurra Nox and Erica Ruhe. It contains 14 tales that somehow relate to the theme of love, but not always a romantic love. This was the perfect read for Valentine’s Day and I read it all in one rainy afternoon. Like most anthologies, there are some wonderful stories that you want more of and some less than stellar stories. The one 5 star story for me was Make a (Death) Wish by Melissa Burkley. There were several 4 star stories including The Wait by Kathleen Halecki, The Flagship by Phoebe Jane Johnson, Sleep by Marie Anderson, and My Lady Bathory by Mandy Burkhead. 
All in all, I enjoyed this collection of short stories and thought it the perfect read for Ladies of Horror Fiction. My overall rating is a 3, but there are some truly delight tales in this anthology and I definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good horror love story!
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This was an excellent way to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and Women In Horror Month! 

Like any anthology, Tainted Love was hit or miss, but this was mostly hit. The interpretations of the prompts of love and horror were wide and varied. Not all stories were scary horror -- some were sad, some were social commentary, some were fantasy, and one was hard sci fi. This anthology explored a wide variety of settings, time periods, voices, and story lengths, as well. I loved seeing the broad range here. 

Not every story portrayed romantic love, either. From obsessive romantic love to narcissism to familial compassion, this anthology explores the vast types of loves that exist. They may not always be healthy -- although some of them are, surprisingly! --  but they are always passionate. 

There are 14 distinct stories in this anthology. I enjoyed most of them and especially liked Of Guys and Dolls. It is a quick dive into two types of love, romantic and sibling, with devastating results. The level of horror in that story was delicious. Vanitas and Prey are tied for second favorites; these longer titles have great levels of character development and explore very different aspects of horror.

CW: Although there is a broad trigger warning encompassing many potential triggers, it should also be mentioned that there are scenes of animal abuse. This book is definitely not for sensitive readers!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Have you ever loved someone so much that you would kill for them? If you haven't,  then you have never felt love like the women in these stories. Its an all consuming love that can only be seen through blood spattered glasses..

Tainted Love is a compilation of short horror stories, written by the women of horror. Each story is unique, with a different take on love gone wrong. 
  I enjoyed most of the stories in the book, but was disappointed with the lack of gore. I needed more blood to go with the stories of revenge and desire. For me, the thrill of the kill can be as thrilling as first love. I needed that feeling again.
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Thank you so much Netgalley and Authors/Publishers for allowing me to read and review "Tainted Love" by Azzurra Nox. This is an Anthology of women horror authors who wrote stories about love and all of the bad things that can go wrong. A neat little horror twist to a love story.
Some of these stories were actually pretty good. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this little collection .I did not enjoy the flagship story. It needed a little more time to marinate if you ask me. Of Guys and Dolls was my absolute favorite and I would want to read more by this author in particular.
I think the problem though, with reading horror anthologies, is that the reader can sometimes get a little bogged down with repetitive concepts. I would recommend taking breaks after reading a couple at a time and then getting back to the stories so that your mind will be super fresh when opening it back up. This helped me a lot after trying to go full force at the beginning. It made me appreciate each writers style in the end.
I guess overall, I like the ideas for the stories and the writing is pretty good, but I think some of the authors could have hit a little harder with the actual horror in their works. It lacked a little something extra is you ask me.
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This collection of short stories looks at love from a very different angle. Yes, the stories are positively creepy, but they deal with a lot of existential questions. How do you love someone who doesn't return the favour? Do you still love your child even though they are broken? What if you do if think yourself broken, do you deserve love? 
I'm not sure how to review the writing, since there's so many different authors. Some stories are too short to decide whether I like the particular style. But I absolutely loved the story about countess Bathóry, not only because my name makes an appearance, but because it deals with transgender and gay issues. I always loved this lore and Mandy Burkhead gave it justice.
I found Chronic Chills oddly fascinating, because first I thought we were dealing with the forbidden infatuation of a young girl with an older man but what we get is something very different. 
Of Guys and Dolls is probably the one that creeped me out the most. I could feel the chills down my spine when I realized what is actually happening. 
All in all, this is a good collection of stories, that you should not read before bed time.

Thank you very kindly to Victory Editing and NetGalley for letting me have a free copy of this book.
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This was a very good mix of stories, and unfortunetly, some of them dragged the rating down for me. The stories I loved I REALLY LOVED and the ones I didn't like I REALLY DIDN'T LIKE. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this though, because I did find some great new female authors I would love to read more from.
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This is a collection of horror penned entirely by women that explores all the ways that love can go wrong.  I like reading seasonal collections around holidays and this was a fun read leading up to Valentine's Day, and perfect for Women in Horror month.  It includes 14 chilling tales focused on the dark side of love and its aftermath. Tainted Love explores all the ways that love can go wrong.  Editor and author Azzurra Nox points out in the foreward that in this collection, the aim is to exault women's voices and to become the masters of our own love stories, twisted as they may be.  The stories in this anthology were quite eclectic and presented a lot of variety.  They really spanned the definition of different kinds of love including passionate, romantic love, friendships and family bonds.   I enjoyed reading this collection - the quick-hitting pace of these short stories kept me turning the pages.  The foreward also mentions trigger warnings for graphic violence, blood, gore, body horror, gun violence, murder, mentions of suicide, infidelity, vengeance, alcohol abuse and emotional distress.  So a little bit of everything.  I'll list few thoughts on some of the stories I enjoyed the most 
 
My very favorite from the collection was Vanitas by Azzurra Nox & Erica Ruhe -  Ruby is a bored newlywed in prohibition-age Chicago, unsure of herself.  She dabbles in painting, and her husband gifts her with an exquisite set of paintbrushes carved with images of shapely sirens.  She paints to fill her spare time, but she has never found quite the right inspiration.  After a chance meeting with a showgirl named Vada, everything changes.  Ruby explores Vada's world, the seedy, smoky, packed jazz club where she performs her bawdy act nightly.  With Vada, Ruby has found the muse for her art and a whole new way of living.  This story was set in such a fun, historical backdrop - it was a delight to see the plot unfold in the setting created.  The story had fun playing around with the idea of sirens - what they really were and how they lured sailors to their demise.  It put a really creative and surprising spin on things. 
 
The Wait by Kathleen Halecki was another highlight.  It is about a bride, jilted at the altar, who has been betrayed by her fiance with her best friend.  She calls on the spirits in a nearby graveyard to help her seek revenge.  This story was quite short and sweet, only a handful of pages.  The writing had a really beautiful and poetic flow with lovely, dark imagery.  Even without naming the protagonist, the reader can picture her clearly and feel her pain and loss.  Really powerful little gothic.
 
Make A (Death) Wish by Melissa Burkley - This one dealt with family love, the love between parent and child, and arrghhh it was heartbreaking!  Shocking and surprising. 
 
Unfinished Business by Joni Chng  This was another standout for me.  Sue Chen is a young seamstress who is having a romance with young doctor Wei Yang.  They've kept their relationship a secret because of their different social classes - they're afraid that his parents won't approve of Sue. They meet under the moonlight for a rendezvous - a swim in the river.  While swimming, they witness the suicide of a woman in red.  Wei Yang tries to save her but fails.  He is then haunted by her ghost.  The story explores a different spin on a traditional Chinese folk tale -a lady in red .  It is usually the spirit of a woman who committed suicide while wearing a red dress who experienced injustice while living and seeks vengeance.  This was a twisty tale with lots of drama and surprises. 
 
Hunter’s Moon by Marnie Azzarelli was probably one of the more creepy and scary stories to me.  The narrator is a young lady who shares an apartment with a roommate.  At night, she hears a tapping at her bedroom window.  A strong smell of smoke inexplicably lingers in the room.  She closes the blinds when she goes to bed at night, but in the morning, they're thrown wide open. Sometimes the window is wide open too.  The narrator slowly begins to suspect that something is happening at night that she is not aware of.  This story was full of suspense.  As each new thing happens, the narrator gets more concerned and the tension builds.  It kept me one the edge of my seat and guessing until the very end. 
 
 
Thank you to Netgalley, Victory Editing and Twisted Wing Productions for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I think anyone who enjoys horror would find something to like in this collection.
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The foreword sets the intention of this anthology: “… to exalt women's voices… Tainted Love explores all the many ways that love can go wrong.” Each of the 15 stories examines the sinister facets of affection and devotion through various distinctive filters of selfishness and imbalance. Whether wronged or wrongdoer these characters deal with assorted betrayals, love triangles, schemes, and hauntings, crimes and punishments. Contemporary, historical, SciFi, and speculative tales offer an atmospheric blend of situations reminiscent of Hitchcock and The Twilight Zone with some menacing sexual chemistry added to heighten the sense of imminent peril. With lots of bad attitudes, devious acts, and some gore these authors explore themes of the gilded cage of domesticity as female captivity, grooming of children by adult predators, persecution for one's gender identity, and more. Each story is provocative. These are the standouts: “Vanitas" by A. Nox & E. Ruhe, “Chronic Chills” by H. Wilding, “Sleep" by M. Anderson, and “My Lady Bathory" by M. Burkhead. 

A few stories, for example “The Flagship" engage readers with a strong premise weakened by a somewhat muddled execution that would flourish in a longer format. Minor proofing oversights in viscerally compelling tales with morbid humor in “They Want to Talk" and a lesson in karma in “Unfinished Business" and some others distract from their general excellence. 

Tainted Love opens with a helpful trigger warning and closes with insightful backstory tidbits in the interview with the authors. It's the perfect read for people who enjoy moody happily-never-afters.
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Perfect creepy little Valentine's read! All of the stories in this fun anthology have the theme of "love" or "love gone wrong". These are high quality stories and I recommend this book to any horror fan or someone wanting something to read for Valentine's Day that is not a cheesy romance story. This book is fun! Grab it up and enjoy!
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Some of these in the anthology were much better than others, some really just didnt captivate me, but overall a decent read!!
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley!

The cover of this book is dark but eye-catching. 
Some of the stories in this anthology were absolutely amazing and disturbing, but some were just...  meh.   
I expect that with pretty much any anthology though.     

I'd definitely purchase a copy and check out other books by the author.
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Wow. I have just finished this anthology and I’m blown away by the quality of the stories therein. All of the stories explore a facet of love and the horrors that come from it, with it, despite it.

I knew by the end of the second story, “Vanitas”, that I was hooked, line and sinker, no pun intended. This story is a unique twist on the sirens of legend, artfully accomplished. It was fun, haunting and horrifying in all the right ways.

Other favorites were Make a (Death) Wish and Of Guys and Dolls. Both were fun little tales with gruesome touches. 

The anthology also has some very dark stories, such as Sleep and Prey, which were both as enthralling as they were disturbing. 

And the very last story, My Lady Bathory, is everything you want from a reimagining of the true story of the Blood Countess.

Overall this is a must read his February, a month that celebrates love AND women in horror, much like this anthology. 

Tainted Love is slated to be published February 16, 2021.
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